How to Teach a Child to Roller Skate

You read a meaty kids roller skates buying guide and decided to take action. Now, your kiddo owns a new flashy pair of kids’ quad skates that they don’t know what to do with, yet. But you have taught your little one tons of tough things ever since they showed up on this side of the Milky Way galaxy. So, there’s no reason you can’t teach your child how to roller skate so they can enjoy their new adjustable skates to the max.

Related: Best Kids Rollerblades

Roller Skating Breaks Barriers Between Generations

Sport brings people from all walks of life together in a way few activities in life can. I know you’re thinking of sports like soccer or softball or baseball.

But there’s also skateboarding, roller skating, and inline skating, far more exciting activities than soccer, softball, or baseball. That’s the truth according to me and other roller skating moms who have incredible fun rolling around with their adventurous tikes.

In so many popular sports, most of the fans are mere spectators. But in good old roller skating, everyone joins in and plays for a mighty thrilling experience. Few other outdoor fun activities burn calories while cementing bonds that last lifetimes quite like roller skating. Whether you’re a new mom or an older mom with a grandchild or two, you’ll love wheeling around the skate part with your little loved ones.

But how do you teach your kid to roller skate so you can drag them along as you see the neighborhood?  Or roll around the local rink with them as you socialize with friends and family

What Is the Best Age for a Child to Learn Roller Skating?

The best roller skaters the world’s ever seen started skating from an early age as, as young as 2 or 2.5. While some children learn balance and motor skills sooner than others, the best age for a child to learn roller skating is between ages 3 and 5. That said, age 4 seems like the most common entry age into this fun sport.

If they’re too young (2-2.5) and they have been coaxing you into letting them roller skate, give in already. Sure, they’ll need a bit of support and guidance to skate safely at the rink or anywhere else. But I have tots that young at my local rink, and they seem to enjoy it a whole lot.

Where and When Do I Teach My Child to Roller Skate?

You can teach them at home on the floor, on your driveway, at the skate park, or at the local roller rink. But before the kid transitions to a hard surface such as an indoor rink floor, have them learn the game on a carpet or on the lawn grass.

I recommend using the rink, though, because you can rent beginner kids’ roller skates there. Plus, you can have a certified coach teach your little one to roll around on wheels.

Pretty much all roller rinks offer kids roller skating classes on Saturdays. Also, some rinks may be less busy during the daytime when school is in. Call the rink to find out when the arena is least crowded. Because that’s the best and safest time to teach them roller skating.

How Do Kids Learn to Roller Skate?

One way for kids to learn roller skating is to hand them over to a certified roller skating coach. If you can, have your child start taking roller skating classes at your local rink. With a professional like that, they’re in safe hands, and they might inspire them to love the sport forever.

But if you’re a roller skater, skating with your child is the best way to teach them how to do roll around safely without falling. If you don’t skate yourself, it’s best to pay someone else to train them. Because falling every time you try to demonstrate good form to a child may not be the best way to inculcate confidence in them. That said, there’s no reason you can’t strap on a pair of quad skates and learn roller skating with your child.

Top Kids Roller Skating Tips

If you’d rather watch a video on how to help a young child learn roller skating, the video below by Dirty Deborah got you covered. She’s a skating coach, and I found her video useful. I have learned a bunch from her over the years.

YouTube video

  1. Buy your kiddo some good roller skating gear and have them put it on pre-skating.
  2. Learning anything new takes time. Your child won’t master roller skating in a day. Be patient.
  3. If you skate, create time to skate with them and keep encouraging them to try harder and while rewarding their efforts.
  4. Pay for roller skating lessons for your child so they can good skating form from the best.
  5. Make them understand that everyone takes a tumble in this fun sport so they know what to expect from the get-go.
  6. Don’t teach a complete beginner kid to roller skate on a hard, flat surface such as the bare garage floor. Instead, have them learn their new pastime on the carpet in the living room or basement. Unless you live in a tiny home, you likely have more room than you need.
  7. Once the child builds up enough confidence to roll on the grass or carpet, you can introduce them to smooth surfaces such as the rink floor, park, or sidewalk.
  8. Never offer your tot your two hands when they’re learning. Instead, give them the index finger or one hand for support.

How to Help a Child Learn to Roller Skate

Follow the steps to get your little one roller skating in no time.

Step 1: Assist Them to Wear Protective Gear

Well, “Dirty” Deborah, a popular roller-skating coach on Youtube, doesn’t think wearing roller skating protective equipment is super important. She’s a professional, and she certainly knows what she’s talking about. She’s a pro, and pros may not always need protection. Because they have mastered safe falling and other advanced skating techniques that keep them safe on wheels.

I think it’s OK and actually beneficial for children to put on sufficient protection before getting on the rink. Admittedly, protective gear such as helmets, knee pads, wrist guards, and elbow pads don’t guarantee pain-free or injury skating sessions. But there’s evidence that protective roller skating gear helps. A lot.

So, help your child to wear their roller skating helmet, pads, and wristguards. I assume the gear fits your kiddo properly. Poor-fitting protective gear routinely fails at protection and may also cause bruises and cuts and cut-off circulation.

Step 2: Help the Child Understand Falling Over is Fine

Even the best of the best roller skaters out there fall. So, help your kiddo understand that they’re going to fall. Kids are OK with falling because they fall all the time.

You’re a caring and loving mom or dad, but don’t worry, your child will be fine. Especially if they’re wearing thick knee pads and a decent kid’s roller skating helmet.

If the child feels like they’re about to fall, tell them to bend low. Have them pretend they’re about to ride a tiny car as Dirty Deborah suggests in the video above.

Focus More On Getting Up Than Falling

According to Deborah of Deborah Skating School, it’s actually possible to turn falling into fun. This professional coach advises parents to stop making kids feel as if falling over is a mistake.

Every time your tot goes down, encourage them to get up. One mistake many parents make is running toward the child wanting to know if they’re hurt. Here’s the thing — the child isn’t hurt. Just a little shocked.

Your job is to have the little skater get back up in no time and try again. When this happens enough times, the little skater learns persistence, and persistence eventually leads to greater skating proficiency.

Greater competence, in turn, fosters confidence. And increased confidence encourages trying new things, which breeds even more competence and confidence.

Step 3: Teach the Kid the Right Posture

I bet you came here to learn the specifics of how to teach skating at home. Ready? Here’s how to teach a 3-year old kid or older kid to roller skate.

When it comes to roller skating and indeed any kind of skating, posture matters a lot. Without good skating form, your child will never become excellent or even good at this sport. Find what good form looks like in the section that follows.

Teach Them Dirty Deborah’s “Penguin Stance” and “Airplane Arms”

The right roller skating stance has the child standing like a penguin, with the heels together. The upper body leaning a little forward and the knees slightly bent.

As for the arms, they should stick out like a plane’s wings. But the wings shouldn’t be flapping, nor should they behave like noodles. And the butt should stay back but not too far back or the little fellow will end up sitting involuntarily.

I suggest that you help your baby learn that first roll on a patch of grass or on a carpeted surface. Why? On a carpeted or grass-covered surface, your kid is less likely to suddenly roll forward or backward in an unstable way. It’s best to teach posture on these kinds of higher-friction surfaces

Step 4: Stop On the Foot Phase

Now that you have got your baby’s body posture nailed down, it’s time to roll.

Now, instruct the young child to lift one foot and place it in front. For some reason, lifting the foot feels challenging to most kids the first time they attempt it. So, get creative and ask them to stomp on the right or left foot. Then, have the child repeat the move with the other foot.

As they pick each foot, instruct them to shift their body weight to that foot. This will help them immensely when the time to learn the actual rolling comes.

Well, skating is not the same as walking. But when it comes to teaching children to roller skate, the easiest way is to have them skate the way they walk. That’s totally fine in the beginner of the learning process. As they make those first few strides, their confidence as a beginner skater will increase.

This process should take place on grass or on your carpeting for safety. Because it’s that much harder for the child to just roll away.

Step 5: Support the Kid as They Learn Rolling On Skates

Once they have mastered stomping with skates, teach to roll. The best and safest way to guide the kid through this phase is to offer them one of your hands. They can hold on the hand or index finger as they roll forward. That way, they know you’re always going to be there for them as they build up their balance and rolling skills.

It can be tempting to support them with both wheels, but that’s not a good idea. If the little one holds both of your hands, the odds of them tripping over a foot and taking a tumble increase phenomenally. One index finger or hand is enough.

To roll forward, the tot needs to learn how weight transfer works.  The smartest way to show them how to do that is to do it yourself. Perform the movement slowly as the child watches and ask them to try it themselves.

As they make the attempt, encourage them. If they make any kind of little progress (and they will), jubilantly exclaim, “Good job! Keep going! You’re killing it! Make affirm a solid part of each practice session. Soon, the kid will be rolling all over the place with confidence.

Step 6: Introduce Your Kiddo to Turning on Roller Skates

Do this: have the kid assume the usual skating stance on the floor. Then, tell them to look over their shoulder and start stomping. Chances are they’ll find themselves stomping around in a circle. Have them do this several times and soon, they’ll have mastered the art of turning on roller skates. This is purely the basics, you want the kid to experience what turning feels like before they learn the real thing down the road.

Wrapping Up

Teaching a child to skate on quads can be frustrating or a fun activity depending on your approach. Let them know falling is OK, and that they’ll fall because everyone falls some of the time.

Next, educate them about good posture or form. From there, they’re ready to start stomping on their feet and moving forward. Once they master shifting their weight and rolling forward, introduce them to basic turning.

Practice and patience are critical when showing a child how to learn roller skating. Without enough patience and consistent practice, the journey ahead will likely be tough and extremely frustrating.

Author: Esther Moni

I'm Esther Moni, a proud stay-at-home mom and a psychology graduate of the United States International University (USIU) . I hate it when anyone calls me a housewife, because what does housewife even mean? Being a mother of two babies and a pup, Bailey, as well as being Ricky's wife tires me to no end, but I still manage a smile at the end of it all. And when my boys aren't done doing mischief, I juggle writing a post on parenting or baby gear performance for this blog and running my little counselling office based out in Nairobi. <a href="">Visit my Facebook profile here</a>, and this is my <a href="">LinkedIn profile</a>, and here's my <a href="">nascent youtube channel.

Esther Moni

I'm Esther Moni, a proud stay-at-home mom and a psychology graduate of the United States International University (USIU) . I hate it when anyone calls me a housewife, because what does housewife even mean? Being a mother of two babies and a pup, Bailey, as well as being a wife tires me to no end, but I still manage a smile at the end of it all. And when my boys aren't done doing mischief, I juggle writing a post on parenting or baby gear performance for this blog and running my little counselling office based out in Nairobi. Visit my Facebook profile here, and this is my LinkedIn profile, and here's my nascent youtube channel.